September 23, 2007
The Agony and the Ecstasy
This is a collection of letters by Italian Renaissance artist Michelangelo, translated into English around 1960. Irving Stone relied heavily on these letters when writing "The Agony and the Ecstasy" (1962), his epic biographical novel of Michelangelo (adapted to a Hollywood film of the same name starring Charlton Heston in 1965).
In order to write the novel Stone lived in Florence and Rome for a number of years apprenticing as a sculptor. In addition he had all 495 surviving letters by Michelangelo translated into English by Dr. Charles Speroni, professor of Italian at the University of California, Los Angeles, which Stone published in 1962 as "I, Michelangelo, Sculptor". The letters were a primary source for the novel.
For those who have read Stone's novel and/or seen the movie, this book is an invaluable way to continue learning more about Michelangelo in his own words. In also includes a "list of characters" which is very helpful when reading the novel.
(STB 09 2007. 41)